The Federal Government has announced a new National COVID-19 Health Management Plan for 2023.
It includes continuing access to vaccines and antiviral treatment, and changes to PCR testing arrangements.
The Government says the focus will be on protecting “those most at risk”.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly says COVID is likely to continue to pose “new challenges” in 2023.
“The Australian community can expect to experience new waves on a regular basis for at least the next two years.”
However, he added the severity of these waves “may be milder, placing less pressure on the health system.”
What’s in the plan?
Government decisions about vaccine eligibility, including for any new vaccines, will continue to be based on the recommendations of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
A fourth dose has not yet been approved for people under 30 unless they have specific risk factors (such as being severely immunocompromised).
The plan also includes an information campaign, which will focus on vaccines, antiviral treatments, and voluntary measures that can reduce spread.
From next month, Medicare-funded PCRs will require a referral from a medical professional.
It also says PCR testing for COVID will be used as a step to allow the prescription of antiviral treatment for at-risk individuals rather than as a more general “surveillance tool”.